When was the last time you saw a design firm with a 100,000+ strong social media following? Even more impressive – when have you ever seen an individual graphic designer with a following in the hundreds of thousands on Facebook? With avid fans commenting on each of his projects – as well as his quirky behind the scene updates on living life as the country’s most popular graphic designer, Aaron Nieh 聶永真 is a bona fide creative celebrity in Taiwan (to put it in perspective, Warner-signed singer Khalil Fong has just over 200,000 followers to Nieh’s 162,000).
Nieh’s influence on Taiwan’s print aesthetics – as well as the work produced by the upcoming generation of graphic designers – has been immense. I was first introduced to 聶永真 Aaron Nieh by my own graphic designer, who I hired to re-do my graphic identity as I take on more freelance work (excited to show that to you all). Referring to him as a “graphic design superstar / idol”, my designer York explained that Nieh practically single-handedly created what I privately term the “Eslite 誠品 style”. Many book covers in Taiwan feature this type of design – and in fact, many Chinese-langauge books currently stocked at Eslite and other design-minded book retailers are designed by Nieh himself. It features a wealth of negative space, thin lines, and haphazardly floating, delicate fonts; a preference for geometric space over photos or complex graphics.
I became one of Nieh’s 100,000+ followers and have been avidly tracking his various projects, and was naturally very excited to see that he had been tapped by convenience store giant 7-11’s (colloquially known just as “Seven”) cafe platform CITY CAFE to collaborate on a line of coffee cups, tote bags, and even notebooks.
Side note: First off, I must say that I am a huge fan of 7-11 CITY CAFE coffee and that it comprises about 40% of my bloodstream at any given time. Each time I drinks it (read: every day; multiple times a day) – I am surprised by how good it is, considering the price and the fact that it comes from a convenience chain.
CITY CAFE frequently does collaborations with well-established brands (Sanrio, etc), offering frequent customers a chance to collect sticker points to exchange for goods. I’ve never been into collecting the 7-11 stickers, but for this collaboration, I’ll definitely shell out cold, hard cash.
The resulting designs from the CITY CAFE x Aaron Nieh collaboration feature tongue-in-cheek French and English phrases relating to the monotony of every-day work life: “Je ne veux pas travailler / I do not want to work” and “I love my work, but not today”.
I absolutely love the fact that CITY CAFE would work with a graphic designer on a collaboration – shows the increasing importance that Taiwan is placing on good design, and it’s encouraging, as well as pleasant to see, as I spy the cups everywhere – on the street, waiting in line at the post office at client offices when I go for meetings.
Check out the rest of the 聶永真 Aaron Nieh x CITY CAFE (7-11) here.